Dry Cleaning Vs Laundry – What’s the Difference in 2024

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Are you tired of constantly battling with stains on your precious garments? Have you ever wondered if there’s a better way to clean your delicate fabrics without the risk of damage?

Well, prepare to be amazed! In this article, we will delve into the world of dry cleaning vs laundry, uncovering the key differences that can revolutionize your clothing care routine.

Get ready to discover the secrets behind maintaining the longevity and pristine condition of your favorite clothes.

Key Differences Between Dry Cleaning and Laundry

Let’s explore the key differences between dry cleaning and laundry, shedding light on the contrasting methods of cleaning clothes and their impact on fabric quality and effectiveness in stain removal.

Dry Cleaning:

  • Dry cleaning uses non-water-based solvents like perchloroethylene to remove stains, making it ideal for delicate fabrics and garments with dry clean-only instructions.
  • Dry cleaning is more expensive because it requires specialized equipment and leaves clothes crisply pressed.
  • Dry cleaning is particularly effective in removing grease, oil, and deep-set stains, thanks to the pre-spotting process. It’s also more efficient in removing certain odors like smoke or mildew.
  • Dry cleaning ensures the longevity of clothes by eliminating the risk of bleeding, fading, stretching, or distortion, making it ideal for clothing made of natural fibers like silk, cashmere, or wool.


  • Laundry uses water and detergent to clean most clothing fabrics like cotton, polyester, denim, and linen.
  • Laundering is a more cost-effective option that uses eco-friendly detergents and is generally gentler on fabric, avoiding deterioration over time.
  • Laundering is better at removing sweat and oil from fabrics.
  • Laundering is better for removing sweat, oils, and dirt from fabrics and is generally more sustainable.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall Dry Cleaner Kit

dryel At-Home Dry Cleaner Starter Kit, Gentle Laundry Care for Special Fabrics and Dry-Clean-Only Clothes, 4 Load Capacity

Dryel At-Home Dry Cleaner

Patented garment bag.

Includes a free stain-removing spray.

Cleans up to 20 garments per starter kit.

Best Overall Laundry Detergent

Tide PODS Laundry Detergent Soap Pods, Spring Meadow, 81 count

Tide PODS Laundry Detergent 

Surprisingly powerful clean in just one step.

3-in-1 formula with super concentrated detergent.

Dissolves completely in any water conditions and washing machines.

Dryel At-Home Dry Cleaner

Reasons to Buy

Reason #1 – Patented garment bag harnesses the power of steam cleaning.

Reason #2 – Includes a free stain-removing spray.

Reason #3 – Cleans up to 20 garments per starter kit, saving on dry cleaning costs.

Reasons to Avoid

Reason #1 – May not be as effective on extremely tough stains.

Dryel At-Home Dry Cleaner is the best overall choice for those who want to safely clean their special care clothes at home, with the added convenience of a patented garment bag and stain-removing spray.

With Dryel, you can save on dry cleaning as it cleans up to 20 garments per starter kit. This innovative product prevents fading, shrinking, and stretching, ensuring that your clothes stay in great condition. Whether you have sweaters, blouses, jeans, delicates, or even wool and cashmere items, Dryel is suitable for all.

The patented garment bag utilizes the power of steam cleaning, providing a gentle yet effective way to remove dirt and odors. The stain-removing spray is a bonus, tackling tough stains and odors effortlessly.

Choose Dryel At-Home Dry Cleaner for a convenient and reliable solution to keep your special care clothes looking their best.

Best For: Those who want a convenient and effective solution for safely cleaning their special care clothes at home.

Product Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 7.09 x 3.15 x 3.94 inches; 12.7 Ounces

Item FormLiquid
Unit Count4.0 Count
Surface RecommendationFabric

Tide PODS Laundry Detergent 

Reasons to Buy

Reason #1 –Surprisingly powerful clean in just one step.

Reason #2 – 3-in-1 formula with super concentrated detergent, extra odor fighters, and extra stain removers.

Reason #3 – Dissolves completely in any water conditions and works in all washing machines.

Reasons to Avoid

Reason #1 – May be more expensive compared to traditional detergent options.

For those seeking a convenient and highly effective laundry solution, Tide PODS Laundry Detergent is the best overall choice. With its 3-in-1 formula, these laundry pacs offer a surprisingly powerful clean in just one step. They contain super concentrated detergent, extra odor fighters, and extra stain removers, ensuring a thorough and efficient wash.

As America’s number one detergent brand, Tide has gained a reputation for its exceptional cleaning power. The Tide PODS dissolve completely in any water conditions, making them suitable for use in all types of washing machines.

Whether you’re dealing with tough stains or just looking for a reliable detergent, Tide PODS Laundry Detergent is a dependable option that delivers outstanding results every time.

Best For: Those seeking a convenient and highly effective laundry solution.

Product Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 4.5 x 8.75 x 10.25 inches; 4.06 Pounds

Item FormPac
ScentSpring Meadow
Unit Count81.0 Count
Material Type FreePhosphate Free

Dry Cleaning Process Explained

The dry cleaning process effectively removes tough stains and preserves the quality of delicate fabrics through the use of clothing-safe chemicals instead of water and detergent.

When you bring your garments to a dry cleaning service, they’re first inspected for any stains or odors. The dry cleaner will then pre-treat these areas with a solvent-based stain remover to ensure maximum effectiveness.

The garments are then placed in a specialized dry cleaning machine that uses a solvent, such as perchloroethylene, to clean the clothes. This solvent is able to dissolve grease, oil, and other tough stains that water and detergent can’t remove. The clothes are gently agitated in the machine to loosen the dirt and stains.

After the cleaning process is complete, the clothes are carefully dried using a special drying method that prevents shrinkage or stretching. This is particularly important for delicate fabrics that can be easily damaged by conventional drying methods.

The result is clean, fresh-smelling clothes that look as good as new. Dry cleaning is especially beneficial for those with sensitive skin, as it removes allergens and irritants that can be present in traditional laundry cleaning.

Benefits of Dry Cleaning for Delicate Fabrics

With its ability to maintain the originality and texture of delicate fabrics, dry cleaning offers a multitude of benefits for those seeking to preserve the quality and longevity of their clothing.

Dry cleaning is a superior choice for delicate fabrics like cashmere. Unlike traditional laundry methods that use water and detergent, dry cleaning uses chemicals such as perchloroethylene to effectively remove stains and grease. These chemicals are specifically designed to be gentle on delicate fabrics, ensuring that your clothes are cleaned thoroughly without causing any damage.

Dry cleaning also prevents shrinking, stretching, and distortion of delicate fabrics, allowing them to retain their shape and fit. Moreover, dry cleaning ensures that delicate fabrics don’t bleed, fade, or get discolored, preserving their color and original quality.

Dry cleaning can effectively remove certain odors like smoke or mildew from delicate fabrics, leaving them fresh and smelling pleasant.

Advantages of Traditional Laundry Methods

When it comes to cleaning your everyday clothing, traditional laundry methods offer several advantages over dry cleaning. Unlike dry cleaning, traditional laundry methods use water to remove stains and dirt from clothes. This means that you don’t have to rely on harsh chemicals or solvents to get your clothes clean. Additionally, clothes are dried using conventional dryers, making the process more energy efficient.

One of the key advantages of traditional laundry methods is their ability to preserve the longevity of your clothes. Dry cleaning can cause fabrics to deteriorate over time, leading to discoloration and damage. On the other hand, laundry methods are gentle on fabrics, helping them last longer and maintain their quality.

Another advantage of traditional laundry methods is their versatility. In addition to cleaning everyday clothing, traditional laundry methods can also be used for upholstery cleaning and carpet cleaning. This means that you can rely on the same method to clean your clothes as well as your household items, making it more convenient and cost-effective.

Choosing the Right Cleaning Method for Different Fabrics

To ensure the best cleaning results for your clothes, it’s important to choose the appropriate cleaning method based on the fabric type and the specific cleaning needs. Here are four key factors to consider when selecting the right cleaning method:

  1. Fabric type: Delicate fabrics like silk, wool, and cashmere should be dry cleaned to avoid shrinkage or damage. Dry cleaning uses a solvent to rinse and remove the dirt without water, making it gentler on these fabrics.
  2. Nature of stains: Dry cleaning is particularly effective for removing grease and oil stains, while laundering is better at removing sweat and dirt from fabrics. Consider the type of stains your clothes have to determine the most suitable cleaning method.
  3. Cost: Dry cleaning is generally more expensive due to the specialized equipment and solvents used. Laundering, on the other hand, is more cost-effective as it uses water and gentler soaps and detergents.
  4. Desired finish: Dry cleaning leaves clothes crisply pressed, while laundering provides a fresh-from-the-cleaner look. Consider the desired finish of your clothing when choosing between the two methods.

Environmental Impact of Dry Cleaning Vs Laundry


Dry cleaning and laundry have different environmental impacts, making it important to consider the sustainability of each method.

The dry cleaning process uses chemical solvents like perchloroethylene, which can have a negative impact on the environment due to toxic waste disposal. The chemical solvents used in traditional dry cleaning are toxic and require proper disposal, posing a potential environmental hazard. Dry cleaning can produce hazardous chemical odors and may not be suitable for all fabric types, posing environmental and health risks.

On the other hand, wet laundering, which is the traditional laundry method, uses water and gentler soaps and detergents, making it a more environmentally-friendly option. In contrast, laundry cleaning eliminates the use of harmful chemicals, making it a more sustainable and eco-friendly choice. In comparison, laundry cleaning avoids the use of harmful chemicals and is a more energy-efficient option, consuming up to 50% less energy than traditional dry cleaning.

Considering the environmental impact of dry cleaning solvents, such as perchloroethylene, it’s essential to explore more environmentally-friendly options like laundry cleaning. This way, we can minimize harm to the environment while still effectively cleaning our clothes. Additionally, choosing fabrics like polyester, which can be safely laundered, further contributes to a more sustainable and eco-friendly approach to clothing care.

Tips for Maintaining Clothes After Dry Cleaning or Laundry

After dry cleaning or laundry, proper maintenance of your clothes is crucial to ensure their longevity and appearance. Here are some tips to help you take care of your clothes after they’ve been cleaned:

  1. Follow care instructions: Always read and follow the care instructions on the garment’s label. This will help you determine the best way to care for your clothes and avoid any damage.
  2. Hang clothes properly: Hanging your clothes after dry cleaning or laundry is important to prevent wrinkles and maintain their shape. Use hangers that are appropriate for the garment’s material and avoid overcrowding to allow for proper air circulation.
  3. Store in a cool, dry place: To prevent moisture damage and odors, store your clothes in a cool, dry place. Avoid storing them in plastic bags, as they can trap moisture and lead to mildew or mold growth.
  4. Spot treat stains: Even after dry cleaning or laundry, stains may still occur. Use fabric-specific stain removers to treat any stains promptly. Follow the instructions on the stain remover and gently blot the stained area to get rid of the stain.

Cost Comparison: Dry Cleaning Vs Laundry

When comparing the cost of dry cleaning and laundry services, it’s important to consider the specialized equipment and non-water-based solvents used in dry cleaning, making it generally more expensive than laundering.

Dry cleaning involves using chemicals and solvents to remove stains and dirt from clothes, while laundering uses water and detergent. Dry cleaning is especially beneficial for delicate fabrics that can’t be tumbled in a machine or are prone to disintegration when exposed to water. It’s also a preferred method for expensive clothes that require extra care.

On the other hand, laundering is a more cost-effective option and is suitable for most clothing fabrics. It’s better for your clothes as it involves the use of a softener and gentle spinning process, which helps maintain the fabric’s quality and texture. Moreover, laundering is a great choice for people with sensitive skin, as it eliminates the use of harsh chemicals.

With advancements in laundry technology, including eco-friendly detergents and water-saving features, laundering has become more efficient and sustainable.

Common Misconceptions About Dry Cleaning and Laundry

One common misconception about dry cleaning and laundry is that they’re interchangeable methods for cleaning clothes. However, this isn’t the case. There are important differences between the two methods that make them suitable for different types of fabrics and stains.

Here are the actual facts about dry cleaning and laundry:

  1. Dry cleaning uses solvents, not water and soap, to clean clothes. This method is particularly effective for removing grease, oil, and deep-set stains that regular laundry methods may struggle with.
  2. Dry cleaning helps eliminate odors and prevents mildew. The chemical solvents used in dry cleaning penetrate the fabric fibers, removing any lingering smells and preventing the growth of mildew.
  3. Dry cleaning isn’t just for delicate fabrics like silk and wool. It’s also suitable for linen and other high-quality fabrics that require special care to maintain their integrity.
  4. Dry cleaning doesn’t mean your clothes will always come back on hangers. While some dry cleaners may return your clothes on hangers, others may fold them neatly in a bag. It’s always a good idea to clarify your preferences with the dry cleaner.

Frequently Asked Questions: Dry Cleaning Vs Laundry

What is the difference between dry cleaning and laundering?

Dry cleaning and laundering are two different methods of cleaning clothes. Dry cleaning uses chemicals to clean clothes, while laundering uses water and detergent.

When should you choose to dry clean your clothes?

You should choose to dry clean your clothes when they are made of delicate fabrics or have stains that are difficult to remove with traditional laundering.

What are some common dry cleaning products used in the process?

Common dry cleaning products include solvents, spot removers, and pressing equipment.

How are clothes laundered?

Clothes are laundered by agitating them in a washing machine, where water and detergent remove dirt and stains. Then, the water is removed by spinning in the machine.

Can dry cleaning get rid of tough stains?

Dry cleaning can effectively get rid of stains that are difficult to remove with traditional laundering methods.

How are clothes dried in dry cleaning?

Clothes are tumbled in a dry cleaning machine and then pressed to remove wrinkles and give them a finished look.

Is dry cleaning environmentally friendly?

Dry cleaning typically uses chemicals that can be harmful to the environment, so it may not be the most environmentally friendly option.

Are there any chemicals used in the dry cleaning process?

Chemicals such as perchloroethylene, hydrocarbons, and siloxane are commonly used in the process of dry cleaning to clean clothes effectively.

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Ira Njoroge

Hey, I’m Ira Njoroge, the founder of MySpaceAffair. Early on in my life, I had a passion to embark on a mission to create a cleaner, and more organized household. With a bachelor's degree in engineering after graduating from the University of Maryland in 2015 and seven years as a General Contractor and professional cleaner, on top of my DIY Enthusiasm. I saw the need for a reliable information source for homeowners. My passion, diligence, experience, and hired professionals confirms the reliability of all the advice given in My Space Affair and I hope to provide you all with reliable and thorough content!